Friday, March 28, 2008

In the Mind of a Madman

From the introduction we are lead to believe the author is not all there upstairs. By telling us he has changed all the names of his characters “despite the fact that their publication would be of no great consequence since they are all humble villagers unknown to the world at large” gives us the notion that maybe this man is paranoid (1921). Throughout the text the Madman views others with a sadistic tone. At one point he was walking down the street and “the meanest looking one of all spread his lips out wide and actually smiled at me!” (1921). His uncomfortable feeling around others is somewhat very concerning for the reading. I get the feeling that he brings this upon himself. At point he does not understand why the children have a grudge against him, and the “Zhao family dog gave [him] a funny look” (1925). His paranoia has led him to believe that not only the children are after him, but to go as far as to say that a dog is after you might be too much.
At one point he describes the physical appearance of “cannibals” in general. He states that “their faces seemed covered with cloth” and that they had “smiling green faces with protruding fangs” (1928). He seems to be over-exaggerating the human “cannibal”. It is interesting how metamorphosis’s these people. By giving them grotesque animalistic features he starts presenting a real feeling of paranoia; a feeling quite different from the beginning when all he did was feel uncomfortable. Something you can be strikingly more powerful than something you feel. Having actually saw the fangs and green smiles of these people really struck fear in the madman which in my opinion transcended his journey towards the state of being insane.
Towards the end of this work he thinks he has the “cannibals” figured out. He expresses over and over how they can change and it would make everything fine again. There is an underlying theme in that of the corruption of society, and in particular the children of society. It is interesting how he makes a comparison between the “real” humans and the “cannibals”. At one point he says the “cannibals” have courage, and that is interesting because he does too. But by saying he has a lot more courage than those who eat people he sort of undermines the fact. He tries not to think about the whole situation for I think he understands he is going crazy. He ends the work with a heroic line saying “maybe there are some children around who still haven’t eaten human flesh. Save the Children…” (1929).

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